Actually getting out the door with only your significant other is pretty impressive, scattering bedtime advice and goodnight kisses as you back out the door. It shuts, you sigh, and then… oh yes, what will we actually do on your date night? And you end up having dinner, or yawning through a film.
How about following a costumed storyteller through the back streets of Gastown in the dark?
A Date Night that’s Something Else
Forbidden Vancouver runs several walking tours in Vancouver. We met up with a young woman in late Victorian costume, in Cathedral Square on Dunsmuir Street. It had been pouring rain not an hour before, so I expected a low turn out, but 10 people appeared out of the darkness to follow Sarah, our guide.
I was expecting a stand and deliver walking tour, a bit of lecture, a few interesting stories, but this was something else entirely. More like a one-woman show at close quarters. It’s a bit unnerving at first, standing a foot from someone performing, but by the second stop we relaxed into it. If Sarah hadn’t been so convincing, so real, it would be have been cringe inducing. Thankfully her storytelling drew us in. It’s impossible not to feel connected as she dragged us through a back hallway of a hotel, into the parking lot, to tell us the story of her friend Klondike Kate receiving a distressing letter.
A Tour for Locals
Like the some of the best historical fiction, Sarah told us about interesting characters connected to Gastown from her perspective as a minor character – a barmaid, a good-time girl, a parlour maid. Part of the charm of this tour was our route through alleys and back streets. I got turned around a few times and wasn’t sure where we would come out. I’d highly recommend doing this tour at night, it definitely heightened the dramatic elements.
Even as a Vancouverite quite interested in our city’s history, I didn’t know the details of half the stories she told us, all rooted in fact. This is definitely not just a tour for tourists.
At $22 a person, it’s not a bargain date night. The quality of our guide and the depth of the research in the story she told, though, made this much more than a walking tour — more of a ambulatory theatre experience. And worth the price.
Erin McGann is the former Managing Editor for Vancouver Mom and Toronto Mom Now. She drinks just a bit too much coffee, is a bit obsessed about sourcing local food, plays the cello moderately well, spends too much time on Twitter, keeps honeybees on a rooftop, and has a thing for single-malt whisky. Erin is working on a novel set in turn-of-the-century Vancouver, which her husband, son and dog have to hear about all the time, and also blogs at Erin at Large.